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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 8

God's End Is Always Present In His Beginnings (continued)

Ezekiel Saw What the Lord Wanted

Then we notice another thing. With this sense of disappointment, this whole change in the course of life, this having to take a way for which there was not natural equipment, there goes this second great factor: "Ezekiel saw the Lord." He was given a vision of the Lord, a vision of what the Lord wanted. Now it is very important that these two things that I have just mentioned always go together. If we have disappointment and dissatisfaction without vision, that is negative. There are plenty of people who are dissatisfied with things as they are. They are the people who can always see what is wrong. They can point their finger at the weaknesses and the faults; they are experts in criticizing everything. That is negative, that does not get us anywhere. With dissatisfaction, there must go vision. But vision must rest upon travail. Vision without travail and suffering of heart is mere mysticism. These two things, vision with travail and suffering of heart, must go together. If you or I feel dissatisfied, and feel that things are all wrong, we ought to be in possession of the knowledge of what the Lord really does want. We ought to have a positive vision of the purpose of God.

Now I want to stop here and say a word to you. Let us read these first verses in Ezekiel:

"Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's exile, the Word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans ... and the hand of the Lord came upon him (me)."

I want to say a word at this point to you about ministry. You notice that what Ezekiel was about to do had a special date for its beginning. It is very impressive how particular Ezekiel is about dates in his prophecies. If you really read through these prophecies, you will see that he is very particular about dates. That gives us our first point for ministry. A minister according to God's Mind must have a message for the time. It will not do for us to be giving out things just in a general way. Our Bible teaching must not be just of a general character. What God needs more than anything are those who have a message for the present hour. When we have finished our life, and our ministry, it ought to be possible for it to be said of us that we had a message for our time, that we were not just one in the general mass of teachers but that we had God's Word for the hour - that our ministry related to a special time in the purpose of God.

Now you servants ask the Lord to make that true of you, that it can be recognized that your ministry relates to the present time - what God wants to do now. That is a very important factor in ministry. What does God need at this time? We must pray that we shall be the Lord's instrument for the present time - that there shall be a very clearly defined time factor in our ministry. So the date is a very important thing in ministry. When God really raises up servants, He raises them up for a time.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9 - "Ezekiel Was Raised Up In Relation to the Situation")

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